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Dogs parade for new park

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Mackenzie (left) and Harry wait at the start line for owners Steve and Vickie Mills to begin the walk.

More than 60 dogs turned out with their owners for the first annual Pooch Parade on the Peninsula Sunday, which raised money and awareness for a new stadium at South Surrey Athletic Park.

The May 1 event – hosted by Rotary Club of White Rock Peninsula – also benefitted SALI’s Farm, a safe-haven run by Semiahmoo Animal League Inc. where at-risk children can bond with and learn from rescued animals.

“It went fantastic,” Rotary club secretary Winston Conyers said. “The event itself went very smoothly, not a hitch whatsoever.”

Those who attended received treats and biodegradable doggy-doo bags before being invited to walk around the park. They were entertained with a dance routine by a performer and her dog, and had their photos taken with their pets.

The photos are to be posted on Facebook, where votes can be cast for the best one. A basket of prizes is up for grabs for the winner.

Conyers said the total amount raised – which fell short of the $10,000 goal – won’t be disclosed.

“We won’t announce it because it wasn’t as much as hoped,” he said, noting one of the challenges facing the event was its hard-to-find location on a field next to Semiahmoo Secondary’s parking lot.

The fundraiser will be held again next year, Conyers said, as it educated the public about the need for updated facilities at the park.

“We recently lost our senior football team to Langley because they have a decent stadium and we don’t have one,” he said. “It raised awareness for the need.”